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Can i update the look of an old pocket door?


can i update the look of an old pocket door?

The pocket door has regained its position as an important interior design feature in the 21st century, mainly because we have become more ambitious and creative with our home improvement projects, and the pocket door offers innovative qualities for creating space and enabling a room or space to be re-purposed. This can have quite dramatic lifestyle effects. But what is often overlooked is that the pocket door also has many aesthetic qualities which can enhance the visual appeal of the home.

Pocket door systems have grown in popularity in recent years because of their minimalist design, and the sharp edges and unfussy detail makes them ideal for contemporary homes. However, you may have a home where you have inherited pocket doors or you have had pocket doors installed for a number of years and they are beginning to look jaded and worn. They are still functioning perfectly well, so you don’t want to replace them, but doors take up a lot of visual space in a home and their aesthetic influence is underestimated, so how can we update an old pocket door to enhance their chic and elegant appeal? Here’s some suggestions:


Paint a pocket door

Sounds obvious, but painting a pocket door can bring a freshness to it and enable it to blend into your room and interior design better. Doors are often painted in contrast to surrounding walls and door frames or architrave, while painting them all the same colour, or with more subtle colour changes, is a popular modern style which would work well with a pocket door.


Repair a pocket door

Doors can look jaded and old because they need repairing. Maybe they don’t open and close as smoothly as before, maybe they don’t shut properly or the door isn’t hung on the rail properly and there are gaps around the perimeter? This can effect soundproofing and temperature control as well as how the door looks visually.  The door itself can be damaged, with cracks or dints where the door has been knocked, while maybe a handle is loose and needs re-screwing? All these repairs are relatively minor and can combine to make the door more stylish and practical.


Handles for a pocket door

Although the pocket door can be opened and closed in most cases by just using the leading edge of the door, fitting a handle makes this much easier and can act to make a door look fresh and appealing too. You can install a handle or replace an existing one, but either way this is an accessory that makes a big difference both visually and in terms of safety and ease-of-use.


Cover it

There are a number of ways that you can apply something to the surface of the door to enhance its appeal and to become a striking feature of your interior design. Of course this is dependent on the overall style of your room and/or home, but you can opt to stick fabric to the door, beading, wallpaper, vinyl tiles or artwork. This can make the door a central feature if done well, and if you have a more traditional door with separate panelling, this opens up more opportunities for multiple items and contrasting decorative styles. Of course, when doing this you need to ensure that nothing you attach to the door will conflict with the smooth operation of it, ie. it won’t become too thick to run smoothly into the pocket cavity.



Everyone likes to accessorise and sometimes this can make a huge difference in a very subtle and very simple way. Popular accessories for the pocket door are features such as anti-slam/soft-closing accessories, self-closing accessories and double-door co-ordination. These all control how the door operates and hence can modernise its visual appeal. Adding a touch-latch feature as a handle is also a visual way to accessorise.



Architrave is a traditional interior feature of a home but sometimes we have to stop and ask ourselves whether it is really necessary. Architrave is effectively acting as skirting board for the walls and doors, so it is covering joints in plasterwork and hiding instances where expansion has occurred and gaps may have appeared between wall sections. There is no doubt that architrave can have a useful purpose and also looks great, but in some cases you may not actually need it. So remove it and have a look. You can be supplied with flush systems which have no architrave, and hence look even more minimalist and chic, but you can achieve this look by removing the architrave and leaving the simple pocket door in all its glory, perhaps also enhancing it with some of the ideas listed above.

So the emphatic answer is, yes, you can update the look of an old pocket door and there are a number of ways you can match the versatility of the pocket door itself by adapting it to your needs, and yet still making sure it fits with the consistent theme of your internal décor too.

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